Bio

Growing up, I tried a variety of sports and had aspirations to be everything I learned about in school when I grew up: archaeologist, (let’s be honest, I wanted to be a dinosaur), artist, singer, actor, writer, fashion designer. The one constant in my life was always dance.

Not surprisingly, dance is what ultimately brought me to yoga. For over 20 years I have been performing tap, contemporary, jazz, and hip-hop. I have assisted, choreographed, and taught classes in various styles for students of all ages.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara I studied dance, French, and graduated with a BA in theater design. I went on to receive an MFA in fashion merchandising from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, but my heart was still set on helping others. Somewhere along the way to finishing my thesis on sustainable fashion, I discovered I was able to do this through yoga and nutrition.

After moving to New York in 2010 I dedicated myself to deepening my yoga practice and studying nutrition. I gratefully fell into Anya Porter’s Breakti® movement, which further inspired me to teach yoga myself. I found a certification program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which encouraged me to pursue wellness + lifestyle coaching. I noticed that yoga and nutrition went hand in hand, and they both turned my world right-side up.

Website

http://www.sashayogawellness.com

Get to know sasha

What are your goals as a teacher?
To always be a student. To inspire others to see the goodness in themselves and each other. To help others realize their ability to cultivate gratitude just as they are. To help others integrate wellness practices into their modern day lifestyles. To spread the health.
Who or what inspired you to teach yoga?
Anya Porter first inspired me to teach after I stumbled upon her class at YogaWorks Soho in NYC in 2010. I followed her as she developed Breakti - a lighthearted practice using breakdance as a platform to explore asana and vice versa. I studied in various programs with Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee, and now work and practice regularly with Iyengar teacher Nikki Costello. Most recently I have began studying Insight meditation with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield, which further excites me to infuse meditation tools into my yoga/asana practice and life in general. I am endlessly inspired by teachers, students, and the philosophy of yoga in and of itself.
What keeps you practicing?
Yoga's constant ability to surprise me -- even if it is my 10th downdog within a 40-minute home practice, there is always something new to be uncovered about the postures and myself (whether it's a desirable discovery or not).
If you weren't a yoga teacher, what would you be?
A backup dancer for Justin Timberlake. A travel/food TV host with an emphasis on clean food and culture. A unicorn.
Tell us something most people do not know about you.
I am an open book... Some people may not know that I was once a very committed tap dancer with the hopes of one day being the first female in the all-male show TAP DOGS. I am also one of those people who can't stand the taste of cilantro.
What advice would you give someone just beginning yoga?
Be gentle with yourself. Take yoga seriously but don't take yourself too seriously. Remember you will never be expected to know or understand everything, or do every pose. Have fun. Stay curious. Keep going, even when you feel like you can't keep going. Play and laugh. Listen to your body.
What does organic mean to you?
As it should be. Free of harmful chemicals or disruptions. Clean. In its natural state.
How has yoga changed your life?
It has made me more aware of my self and my thoughts, patterns, actions and reactions, breath, and surroundings. I am absolutely a more compassionate human because of it; I see myself in others and others in myself, and am more willing to look at the things that make me feel uncomfortable. I can also hold a handstand, which is not only really fun but also amazingly empowering -- not to say that this is a goal of asana, but it certainly feels exhilarating.
Besides yoga, what do you do to keep a healthy lifestyle?
I love Ayurveda! Inspired by my friend and mentor Divya Alter, I integrate Ayurvedic food and lifestyle practices into my daily life as much as possible like cooking fresh, tongue scraping, oil massages and meditation. I take a hip hop class at least once a week, travel often, spend time with my friends, listen to inspiring podcasts, and give myself permission to not be a perfect yogi/nutrition expert (i.e. eating all the bread and cheese/drinking all the wine in Paris).
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